Category: CES 2013

CrassCast’s Freedom editor, and the NEW, new John, reports live from Las Vegas at CES 2013, as Owen sits in quiet jealousy and Christian rants about Miiverse. As always, a big thanks to CrystalFissure for the intro music.

Make sure to check out Samuel’s coverage of CES 2013.

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The Vybe haptic gaming chair has to be one of the most embarrassing displays I’ve ever seen at a press show ever. The chair was “showcased” on some of the most uncomfortable laid back wooden chairs I’ve ever sat on. What makes those chairs worse is the fact that the product is constantly sliding back in forth. The set up was also a joke, they had a 55inch HD LG television which looks good from far away, but hooked up to it was a 4gb Xbox 360 playing Halo 4 split screen in SD.
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"The set up was also a joke"

The product itself was just an absolute mess; the purpose of the product is to detect certain sound waves from the game and use it to vibrate the chair. Maybe Halo 4 was just a bad example, but the chair was constantly vibrating at full blast through out the 3 levels I played through. The only time the chair stopped vibrating was when the game was paused. I also couldn’t tell if the intensity was changing at all, there was just constant vibration all at the same level and all in the same areas.

"It's Disney Magic"…

When I asked the exhibit staff how the machine worked he literally told me, “It’s Disney Magic, I’m not too sure.” When I asked for information he pointed to a large cardboard cutout with a child screaming on it. The kid was holding a PS1 controller and the box didn’t really provide much information but the name. The entire experience made video games look bad, using Halo 4’s story mode was a mistake simply because the folks who came by to play with me kept asking where the “bad guys” were. They ended up just sitting on the chair shooting the gun, saying “that’s cool” and walking off.

The chair didn’t enhance my gaming experience, they’d be better off advertising it as a massage chair that pauses when you do. The fact that this was one of the biggest booths at CES’ gaming showcase makes the entire industry look bad.

With flagging sales of Television sets, the big TV manufacturers are desperate to have the next big thing in Television. HDTV brought a massive boom in TV sales, but that has long past, and with 3DTV’s not exciting consumers, the big manufacturers are increasingly banking on 4KTV. During CES I had the opportunity to game on a 4k Television twice. The first experience was Dirt 3 on a high end PC using max settings. The main game seem to render and upscale perfectly with the TV. However, the logo and menu items seemed extremely fuzzy. I can see this becoming a common issue as these higher resolution screens become more and more popular.
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The MacBook Pro with Retina Display has received similar criticism because most content is not designed with higher resolution in mind. It’s extremely pretty to see the amazing amount of detail in that preloaded high resolution Mountain Lion in iPhoto, but it means nothing if all the text on Twitter is stretched and blurry. I can see how buying a high resolution 4K television isn’t something you’d want to be an early adopter for.

"God of War Ascension was absolutely stunningly beautiful on the Bravia 4K TV"

One positive experience I had was playing God of War Ascension at Sony’s booth. It was absolutely stunningly beautiful on the Bravia 4K TV, but it brings up a major concern I see with Sony products, will this only be really optimized for the Bravia? Sony like Apple products work absolutely flawlessly if you adopt their entire product line. But it gets very messy if you have 3rd party accessories. It’s becoming a major issue in the tech industry that every company is trying to capture your entire home. I honestly don’t know anyone that uses specifically one brand of technology for all their needs. This makes it hard for developers to cater to new technology.

If such a small minority uses an incredibly high-resolution display like 4k tvs and the retina display on the Macbook Pro, why would content creators bother to format to cater to those crowds? This will lead to early adopters being incredibly dissatisfied and lead to slow growth. I understand that Apple and Sony are premium brands and don’t want to spend the capital if it doesn’t lead to brand growth.

However I must question developer and consumer adoption of technologies, surely working with other brands to create massive open appeal and lower price points will bring more capital than a small controlled brand exclusivity. Unfortunately games don’ have the benefit films do when it comes to technology like 4K. There are no Video Game cinemas broadcasting the latest technology before it hit home.

Another huge question comes in on how developers will adjust; one fine example of how things could go wrong is Banjo Kazooe Nuts and Bolts when this title came out playing it in SD was almost impossible because the text was too small to read. This was a problem the plagued many earlier Xbox 360 and PS3 games and I can easily see it happening with 4K. My car in Dirt 3 looked stunning, except all the blurry logos. I think it will be another slow burn for early adopters again, I can’t recommend buying a 4k television for gaming.